Wine pairings can be intimidating. Unless you're a wine expert, it can be hard to know which wines enhance which foods. The good news is that most of the hard-and-fast rules are being cast aside. Many wine lovers now follow one simple guideline: use what you enjoy and don't fret about anything else!
If you don't know where to start when it comes to wines, choose a young, fruity, crisp, low-alcohol wine. If you're a novice, or are serving wine to guests who are not familiar with wines, you may want to go with milder, easier-to-drink choices. White Zinfandel or other pinkish "blush" wines are very smooth and easy to drink. Sweeter white wines such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer are milder than stronger whites like Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. For red wines, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are strong and hearty, while Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are smoother with fewer of the bitter-tasting tannins that take some getting used to.
A rule of thumb is to match colors: red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat and fish. Choose a white wine like Chardonnay with chicken and white meats. Pair a Merlot or Shiraz with steak and other red meats. As mentioned earlier, however, the current trend is to break those long-standing rules, so if you have a white wine and a big, red steak, throw tradition to the wind and give it a try!
|Suggested Wine Pairings|
|Brie and blue cheese||Chardonnay|
|Mixed green salad||Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer|
|Fruit salad||Riesling, Champagne|
|With pesto sauce||Chardonnay|
|With cream sauce||Sauvignon Blanc|
|With tomato sauce||Chianti, Merlot, Carbernet|
|Fish and Shellfish|
|Shellfish and mild white fish||Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay|
|Salmon||Chardonnay, Pinot Noir|
|Grilled and marinated chicken||Reisling, Pinot Noir, Shiraz|
|Roasted chicken||Chardonnay, Valpolacella|
|Roasted turkey||Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangeovese|
|Ham||Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Shraz, White Zinfandel|
|Roast||Shiraz, Cabernet, Pinot Noir|
|Steaks||Cabernet, Red Zinfandel|
|Grilled or roasted||Cabernet|